Tag Archives: learning
It’s common place to see people doing front raises in the gym, even though for them it’s essentially a pointless exercise.
I’m not saying it’s a bad exercise, far from it, some top lifters need it as an assistance movement for what ever specific reason, however the average gym goer who has a program heavily biased towards pressing and anterior chain movements DOES NOT need to be doing front raises.
Before we go on let us have a look at some of the exercises that recruit the front deltoid.
- Presses (pretty much all of them)
- Bear crawls
- Sled pushing
The main function of the anterior deltoid is shoulder flexion — lifting your arm up and to the front of your body. So any movement that involves this hits it, make a note.
That’s the first reason you don’t need to isolate this muscle.
The second is because daily life is heavily anterior chain dominant, here is a short list of daily living movements that cause a short/tight/over worked front delt and also high pecs too.
- Sitting at a desk
- Playing computer games
- Putting things on shelves
You get the idea. Life is heavily biased towards overworking what are known as ‘tonic muscles’ of the body and rarely have you stimulating the phasic ones (posterior chain).
For the average person Id recommend having some form of reverse fly in every session and perhaps a lateral raise movement in each pressing session, I can’t remember the exact studies, I apologise, however on average the lateral delt has 2/3 the development of the front and the rear was barely scraping 1/3 of the front delts growth.
You’d also do well to chuck in face pulls, bat wings (isometric holds) and resistance band pull apart drills in your daily life (say 50 pull-aparts per hour and 60 seconds bat wing).
This simple information will help you balance the entire shoulder, it will also help improve your posture and look 100% better, no one likes a round shouldered look, its weak and prone to injury.
Life is all about acquiring skills.
Think about it.
As kids we learn to crawl, then walk, then run an jump an play which finally lead in to minor sports and activities, however the best part about all that is the sense of achievement, wether you’re aware of it or not.
We like learning new things and more importantly being good at them, training should be no different.
That being said, there are plenty of exercises that people will avoid like the plague not because of a legitimate excuse but for the fact that they’re not good at the moment and it brings their ego down a peg of three.
If we take squatting for example.
A squat is something everyone assumes they can do, nay, they expect they can do, so when someone tries and struggles or perhaps fails to execute it with any good form they get disheartened and start to avoid the movement, usually opting for leg press or machine work.
Squatting is a skill, much the same as pressing, deadlifting, running, jumping, throwing and so on. The only difference is how quickly a person can learn that skill (major injury or medical reasons aside), some take longer than others but that doesn’t mean you should give up on it.
Something I’ve noticed in other people as I’ve gotten older is just how lacking in resilience they are. If something doesn’t happen instantly or go their way from the start they get pissy, make excuses and give up, bot a good trait to have.
Have I ever had the above attitude?
Yep, more times than I’d like to admit, however there’s no sense in lying about it so I might as well learn from it instead.
The main lesson I took away was this; thing take time, some more than others but everything comes with a cost of your time. You just have to pay it, if you really want to achieve anything that is.
I understand how frustrating it can be when things don’t go your way, oh and before you start thinking “I don’t agree with that.” stop, it’s human nature to get the hump when we don’t get what we want, just accept it, no one is here to judge you and if they are then let them, it literally has no effect on your life unless YOU allow it to.
Will you do something for me? Or more aptly put, will you do something for yourself.
Write down 3 skills you want to achieve.
Next, look at each skill and write down what you need to be doing to acquire that skill and HOW you’re going to achieve it.
Lastly, start working towards them.
Don’t give up, almost everything can be learnt/achieved if given enough time, you just have to want it bad enough.
Everyone knows and loves 5×5, with good reason too.
The 5×5 routine was one that Reg Park used with great success, not to mention Bill Starr and a great many others.
As with anything everyone has their own unique tweaks that put in to play on this basic but brilliant program, each of which work well, here are some examples:
- 5×5 at set working weight
- 5×5 – 2×5 warm up (60-80% of working weight) 3×5 at working weight
- 5×5 – 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
- 5×5 – Friday Max out day, working to 1×5 all out, Monday 5×5 at 80% Fridays weight, Wednesday 2×5 at 70-80% Fridays weight
- Typically the main aim is to hit 25 heavy reps, 80-85% of 1RM is typical.
There are countless more methods and today I would like to give you one that I utilise using extended sets, this will help you improve maximal strength and trigger hypertrophy.
Extended Set 5×5 – Using a harder movement with sub-maximal loading followed by an easier one movement. All total reps add up to the classic 25.
A1 Extended Set – Front Squat/Squat – 5×2, rack then change bar position, Squat x3 at same weight.
Back Off Set 5×5 – As above, harder vacation of the lift followed by an easier one.
- 5×2 + 3×5
A1 – FS 5×2 – B1 Squat 3×5 starting at same weight and increasing as necessary.
High Rep Back Off Set 5×5
- 5×2 + 15
A1 – 5×2 – B1 Squat 1×15 at the FS weight.
^^ Not classic 5×5 but the 25 rep goal is still hit.
There is nothing magical about these rep/set schemes, they’re just options for you to try.
There are a lot of different ways to structure a program, typically because of the specific needs of the person it is for, however for those of you who want to achieve the following:
– Fitness (improved CV/VO2 Max)
– Better Body Composition (lose body fat & increase lean muscle)
– Improve Mobility/Flexibility
– Aquire Skill
– Improve mental health
This simple structure idea will help you plan your workouts to achieve all of the above.
Program Design 101:
– Warm Up – 5min
– Mobility – 10min
– Strength &/or Skill Element – 20min
– Metabolic Conditioning Section – 15min
– Flexibility Enhancement – 10min
– Warm Down – 5min
Looks simple enough, doesn’t it.
Here is what a workout might look like:
– www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8QxbtcA5hU – Routine example
– A1: Deadlift, A2: Press 5-3-2-5-3-2-5 – Reps dictate the weight
– B1: Loaded Carry 20m, B2: 400m Sprint – AMRAP in 15min
– www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia5ZTVQnsBw -Routine example
– Foam rolling & short meditation
You will notice the workout is nothing special, however it covers multiple facets of fitness for those who want an all round package, rather than an ultra specific one.
How does it all work?
Skipping allows for a nice warm up and also some skill/coordination practice, as does the mobility routine example.
The strength is set in an example of a 5-3-2 wave to allow for muscle potentiation, both exercises hit the major muscle groups of the body. When the metabolic section beings you will gain more strength from the loaded carry along with power/CV/endurance/fat loss from the sprints.
Finally you have a nice example stretching routine followed by some gentle foam rolling and meditation to bring clarity of thought and lower the stress of life.
What is written above isn’t gospel, it’s an example, a good example mind you but ann example never the less. You can adapt it however you see fit.